If you’re craving Chinese takeout, whip up this honey walnut shrimp at home! It’s a lot easier to make than you think.
If the mere thought of Chinese takeout makes your mouth water, then you have to give this recipe a try. Today, if possible.
Light and crunchy ebi (shrimp) tempuras are tossed in a sweet and creamy sauce and topped off with crunchy candied walnuts.
I’ll give you a moment to let all that deliciousness sink in.
This dish has all the umami-rich flavors and crunchy-tender textures you love about Chinese takeout.
I guarantee you that this homemade honey walnut shrimp will change your life. Let’s get this show on the road!
Honey Walnut Shrimp
Honey walnut shrimp is a popular Chinese-American dish of shrimp tempura tossed in a sweet and creamy sauce and candied walnuts.
I’m not lying when I say that my copycat honey walnut shrimp is superior to Panda Express.
Personally, I find Panda’s tempura batter a tad too thick and the sauce way too rich.
Mine yields a delicately crisp batter. The honey mayo sauce also has just the right balance of flavors.
As a bonus, this recipe is a cinch to make.
I know it sounds a bit intimidating to make your own candied walnuts and fry tempura, but they’re actually pretty easy.
In fact, this dish comes together in just 35 minutes!
- Shrimp – It’s better to get the kind that’s already peeled and deveined for convenience.
- Mochiko Flour – Also called glutinous rice flour. It serves as the base of the batter. Some recipes use flour or cornstarch, but for me, mochiko yields a far crispier and crunchier coating.
- Egg Whites – They’re whisked with mochiko to form the batter. They help make the coating extra light and delicate.
- Vegetable Oil – For frying the shrimp. Use neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
- Mayonnaise – It adds richness and creaminess to the shrimp.
- Honey – It’s called honey walnut shrimp, after all!
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – For added sweetness and creaminess.
- Walnuts – The classic recipe uses walnuts, but feel free to use whatever kind of nut you like.
- Sugar + Water – When boiled together, they turn into a thick glaze that’ll crunch up as they cool and dry.
How to Make Honey Walnut Shrimp
1. Make the candied walnuts.
Doing this step first is a must because you’ll need time to let the candied walnuts cool and dry to crisp up.
Boil walnuts in a sugar glaze (a mixture of boiled water + sugar).
Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow it to dry.
2. Make the batter.
First, whisk the egg whites until they foam up. Gently mix in the mochiko until well combined.
Expect the batter to be thick and pasty.
3. Preheat the oil.
This step is important! If your oil isn’t hot enough, the shrimp won’t cook properly.
4. Coat and fry the shrimp.
Note: you’ll need to work quickly once your oil is preheated!
Give the shrimp a quick dip in the batter and shake off the excess.
Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Let the cooked shrimp rest on a wire rack as you cook the rest.
The wire rack will allow air to circulate under the shrimp, keeping them crisp all around.
5. Make the sauce.
Whisk together your mayo, honey, and condensed milk.
If you don’t like your sauce too sweet, start with a smaller amount of condensed milk, taste it, and adjust accordingly.
6. Assemble the dish.
Toss the shrimp in the sauce and sprinkle the cooled candied walnuts on top. Serve it with rice and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Make the candied walnuts first as they’ll need time to cool and dry to crunch up.
- Spread the candied walnuts on the baking sheet in a single layer to keep them from sticking together. Use a fork to separate them from each other while hot, if needed.
- Pat dry the shrimp well with paper towels before dipping them in the batter to help the coating adhere better.
- Don’t batter the shrimp heavily. Just coat them lightly so they turn out delicately crisp.
- Don’t over-crowd the skillet, or you’ll steam the shrimp instead of frying it. Fry in batches!
- The oil and skillet get hotter over time. Be sure to adjust the temperature accordingly to keep from burning the shrimp. It would help to have a candy thermometer in the skillet. The temperature should be between 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Condensed milk is extremely sweet. If you like to adjust the sweetness of the sauce, start with half a tablespoon and just taste and add more if you like. You can also use honey instead.
- If you find the sauce overly rich, balance it out with a spritz of lemon juice.
Is Honey Walnut Shrimp an authentic Chinese dish?
While its origins are unclear, many believe that honey walnut shrimp was invented in Hong Kong in the 60s and was introduced in the US in the 80s.
The dish is offered in Chinese and American Chinese restaurants worldwide.
Does this dish taste like Panda Express?
While the taste and texture profiles are the same, my copycat recipe yields a crisper and more delicate coating, plus a lighter sauce.
How many calories are in Honey Walnut Shrimp?
Bad news, dieters! This recipe makes 4 servings, and 1 serving has 605 calories.
There are 4 servings in one recipe.
Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?
Yes, either fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp are both okay to use here.
For convenience, buy shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined. The size is up to you, but I prefer 26/30.
Don’t use pre-cooked shrimp.
What to Serve with Honey Walnut Shrimp
Honey walnut shrimp is best eaten with rice! You can’t go wrong with simple steamed white rice or fried rice.
For a healthier alternative, go for black rice or cauliflower rice.
How to Store Honey Walnut Shrimp
Honey walnut shrimp is best served immediately as the shrimp’s coating will start to get soggy over time.
The walnuts will start losing their crunch, as well.
Don’t throw out leftovers, though. Store them in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Just don’t expect the shrimp to have the same level of crispness and crunch as they did the day they were cooked.
Flavor-wise, though, the dish will be fine.
If you already know you’ll have leftovers to store, don’t toss the fried shrimp and walnuts in the sauce yet.
Instead, store them in separate containers. That way, the shrimp will at least retain some of its crispness.
The shrimp will keep well for up to 2 days in the fridge, while the sauce will be okay in there for up to a week. Store the walnuts at room temperature.
Reheat the honey walnut shrimp in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
I don’t recommend microwaving because it’ll make the shrimp and walnuts rubbery.
Can I Freeze Honey Walnut Shrimp?
Sorry but no, I don’t recommend it.
The shrimp’s coating will lose its delicate crunch when frozen, thawed, and reheated, even when you store the shrimp, sauce, and walnuts separately.
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